I used quotes on gambling as I am not sure if £5 per game is really gambling. Also the fact there were a few weeks where I wasn’t able to get bets in on time. This was more of test as I have spent a decade or two watching this sport and wanted to see if there was something to be said into delving in deeper. Below I have the four methods I used for picking games, and my final record. The results were very surprising.
As you can tell from this site, I enjoy podcasts, a lot. When I decided to go down this route, I knew I needed to get info on the NFL but try to minimize the impact on my day-to-day life. So I found the Around the NFL and Dave Dameshek Football Program podcasts. Both release about two episodes a week, one preview and review style shows. I won’t get too deep into their content, as I will be doing reviews on both, they are unique in the way they approach the sport.
I like podcasts for information on injuries, the style a team plays, or trends in their stats. Being in London, catching games is very tough, and you can only gather so much from Highlights. Both podcasts provide a lot of insight and information in one spot, which I can consume as I commute to work, at the gym or on a walkabout.
STATISTICS AND STANDINGS
I am not a full-blown stats person when it comes to sports. I believe it is very good for finding value in role-players and when you are under a cap crunch. However, I don’t need a mountain of stats to know Matt Ryan is a good QB. The same goes with the standings of teams. I tried to come up with an algorithm, then I remembered I am awful with math, however, they’re good to know.
One thing that drives me nuts is when they say Home games don’t matter. If that’s true then how do you explain the Seahawks year in and year out? This year alone, Home: 7-1; Road 3-4-1. Or even better the Eagles, Home: 6-2; Road 1-7. It might not matter for every team, but it does for a few, and should not be ignored. The NFL has some great breakdowns on their site. Again, it’s just part of the puzzle.
As I said, there’s only so much you can get from Highlights, however, you can get a lot. The NFL site, and their YouTube channel are great. The game breakdowns last between six and 10 minutes, and go rather in-depth. The best part of the Highlights is you get to see more than a boxscore shows. Ok, Phil Rivers had 400+ yards passing, but three Interceptions, but how did he look? Were the passes on-target, did the receivers have to adjust, or were the picks deflections?
The big thing Highlights help with is considering future match-ups. Let’s go back to Rivers. If he has a great game with no picks, but against a bad Passing Defense, then I know if his next game is against a good one, and he was getting lucky on throws, that he will not have as good of a chance. Another piece.
Never underestimate asking someone. For my first four weeks I ran my picks past my friend Jason. As you will see below, the 13-8 record was the best stretch I had. Everyone consumes sports differently, and its always good to get a different perspective. I would email my picks, with my thoughts, and how I was leaning. Jason would typically come back with “You’re stupid,” but also some good responses. Sometimes I would take his advice, sometimes I would go with my gut. The numbers don’t lie though.
While I was only able to get eight weeks in, it was an interesting eight. I found out a lot more about the NFL than I ever thought I would, whether that be statistics, schemes, or how front office decisions are made. My final record was 21-20. One game above .500, success!
Now I didn’t breakdown how many times I ignored Jason’s advice, or what I heard on podcasts and ignored, so no data there. However, I do know there is a fine line between picking games and over-thinking things. The weeks when I had the most time to look at stats, listen to every minute of both podcasts and watch highlights are when I did the worst. However, you never want to ignore it too much either as you might miss injuries, a key stat, or change in a scheme or assistant coach.
I’m probably not going to repeat the same thing next year, as it is time-consuming. Although, I might pick one to two games a week for a £5 bet to make it fun. Or I might start doing a £1 Accumulator every week based off my picking system. I’m a sucker for a strategy and even when you don’t watch the games it’s fun.